Friday, April 29, 2016

Baby Shower weekend

Sorry, but there won't be a post today.  You see, I am getting ready to attend  a baby shower for my daughter.  She is expecting my first grandchild.  I need to focus on this   instead of blogging today.  Til next week....

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Murder in Her Honor

When I started to do some research into the family ancestors of my mother-in-law, I had no idea that her maiden name would be so common.  Fuston doesn't seem to me to be a name that lots of people had, but I was proven wrong with the many hits that I had when using various databases to search for her family.

Knowing that some of the family members were among the many that lived in the Tennessee and Kentucky region around the time of the War of 1812 and afterward, I focused my attention on this area.  Of course you know by now that I use newspapers to find some of the most interesting tales.  I found this story in The Tennessean of Nashville, Tennessee in 1882.  I still have not proven any relationship between this family, and that of my mother-in-law.  But it is a very interesting story to add to my list of Fallen Acorns.

The story was reprinted from The Huntsville Independent, taking place about the 12th of October in 1882 on page 5.  A circus was visiting the area on that Thursday afternoon.  A little store house, owned by Tolbert Fuston, located underneath a row of apartments, was being manned by Mrs. Fuston.  Tolbert was out of town on business.  One man, about the age of 20, being employed by the Cole Circus, came into the store.  Mrs. Fuston was standing behind the counter, and when the young black man entered, she asked him what he needed.  He identified himself as George Steele, employee of the circus, and he wanted to buy some bread.....on credit.  Apparently she knew him from previous visits, as he had an ongoing credit account established with the store.  But, Mrs Fuston looked into the credit books and noticed that George had not made any payments on the credited purchases he had made prior to this day.  She refused his request....asking for payment instead.

George Steele, smelling of alcohol, didn't like how he was being treated by Mrs. Fuston.  He paused a moment, and in the heat of anger, he quickly moved behind the counter where Mrs. Fuston was standing.  He proceeded to beat her, and managed to throw her to the ground.

Mrs. Fuston screamed loudly, and a passerby, hearing her squeal, entered the store.  This man had been residing in the attached apartments, staying only a short while during his illness.  He yelled at George and asked him to leave her alone.  George ran from the store out into the street.  The gentleman hero helped Mrs. Fuston to her feet and proceeded to tend to her wounds.

Not long afterward, Mr. Fuston returned from his trip and he heard the whole story from his wife and the man residing in the apartment.  He armed himself and proceeded into the streets in search of this brute.  After asking persons of his whereabouts, he found him near the home of a neighbor. His intent was to have him arrested.  But first, Mr. Fuston asked George why he would attack Mrs. Fuston like he did.  What was his intent?  George did not answer Mr. Fuston, but made a move by placing his hand behind his back, as if to pull a pistol from his waist.  This startled Mr. Fuston, so he fired his gun and struck George in the chest.  The damage was done, and it was fatal.

Mr. Fuston left the scene, and ran into town to find the sheriff.  He told the whole story of the incident to the lawman.  Sheriff Cooper had no alternative but to take Mr. Fuston into custody until he could investigate the situation.  Mr. Fuston spent the night in the jail.  His arraignment would be scheduled for the next day.

The sheriff placed Mr. Fuston before the bench of Judge Barclay, D.D. Shelby was appointed as his counsel, with the State being represented by Nick Davis.

Judge Barclay heard the case, and all facts were represented just as they had occurred.  The judge decided to release Mr. Fuston, stating that he felt Mr. Fuston was well within his right to defend the honor of his wife.  She was healing from her bruises, but still shaken from the incident at the store.  Lastly, the judge decided that Mr. Fuston acted in a way to defend himself, even though it was found that George Steele did not have a gun.

Judge Barclay declared, "It is well within the right of any man to defend the honor of his wife, even if it means taking the life of an assailant".

And, so, Mr. and Mrs. Fuston were allowed to walk home after the hearing, and they lived out their lives without another incident.  No one stepped forward to represent the dead man, George.  No one stepped forward to pay off his credit account, either.

This article was found online at, an affiliate of

Monday, April 18, 2016

Friday, April 8, 2016

1906 San Francisco Earthquake Victims : Were you related to anyone who lost their life?

In Memory of :

Filippo Busalacchi

Birth: May 5, 1874
Sant' Elia
Provincia di Palermo
Sicilia, Italy
Death: Apr. 18, 1906
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

He died in the famous 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, CA

Italian Cemetery
San Mateo County
California, USA
Plot: 22; Grave 25

Maintained by: Spence Burton
Originally Created by: Retaggio
Record added: Nov 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44350784

information from

I browse newspapers quite frequently for items of interest....Fallen Acorns, to be exact.

San Francisco suffered through a horrible earthquake in April of 1906.  Newspapers across the nation tried to cover the story the best that they could, with what little technology they had at that time.

Lucky for us, we have OCR to use as a valuable tool when hunting for surnames in digital content., a partner of, has recently increased their content to include a very large selection of American newspapers.  If you haven't used this website, or you haven't looked at it for a while, I highly suggest that you take a few minutes to see what has been added.

I looked into the selections for St. Louis, Missouri, (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and the Sicilian surname of my mother's family, Busalacchi.  What I found for this date is fantastic.

Are you related to anyone on the list?

19 Apr 1906, Page 3

sreif1956 Member Photo
Member photo for sreif1956

Friday, April 1, 2016

Neighborhood of the Real Goodfellas

About ten years ago we moved from a neighborhood where we had raised our children.  We spent 20 years in a home situated in a subdivision  where kids could be found in every household.   Swing sets, trampolines and soccer back stops were found in most backyards.  But our kids were grown, and we no longer needed to live in such a bustling place.

After putting our home on the market, we searched for a home that would meet our needs as empty-nesters.  Yet, we were still young enough to enjoy life to its fullest. So, we found a home in a subdivision tucked away from the  areas of commerce and schoolbuses.  It seemed nice enough.  We even have our own park with walking trails and fishing ponds, tennis courts, picnic gazebo and playground for visiting little guests.  We liked it.

I am a history nut of sorts.  Before long I did some historical research on the area, finding that a large farm and saw mill used to occupy the place of our new home.  But, I had to fast forward for some reason, and looked into the not so distant past of my new neighborhood.  I found that some very interesting characters also liked my neighborhood, too.

There were a few clues.  And, listening to some whispered tales told by a few of the residents who had lived here far longer than we had...well, let's just say the neighborhood now has a past that I only read about in the newspapers.

You see, members of the Chicago Outfit lived here before we arrived.  It suited them just fine I guess.  Only one way in and out.  Secure and out of the way, the Goodfellas could carry on their business, living just a few homes away, or a block or two away from each other.  How convenient for them.

To support my story, I found an article in the Chicago Tribune written about the several members who lived here, mostly from the 70s through the early 2000s.  Some of these characters are still alive, and I don't write about the living.  But, those deceased include Frank Calabrese, Joe Ferriola and Doves Aiuppa, just to name a few.

Neighbors told me that there was never a problem with crime in this neighborhood.  You see, the well known residents seemed to keep those kind of troublemakers out of the area.  They were good neighbors and kept unto themselves.  What more could you ask for?

If you are interested, a good article to read about my neighborhood can be found in the archives of the Chicago Tribune, entitled
"Mob Bosses Find a Home in Oak Brook", written by Ronald Koziol and John  O'Brien, published on March 12, 1989.

These Goodfellas had good taste...and so do I.  So, tell me, what kind of history does your neighborhood story reveal.  Do a little research and share the stories.